Birds revisited

2006-10-02 16:04:25.000 – Jon Cotton,  Observer


Back on September 4th I posted a comment photo of a bird perched on the window sill at night. (The comments are archived, so feel free to go back and look.) I didn’t say much about the feathered visitor then but I am now. And yes, the information is still timely…a couple nights ago the same type of bird was again at the window. When I got off shift that early September week to spend some time with my AMC friends, one of them passed this on:

The Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata) here is either a female or adult in fall plumage. These warblers are neotropical migrants breeding at lower elevations. In preparation for the long journey south, they will often stage at the higher summits or head to the coast first. A few things could have acted as attractors to our window – the light, their reflection in the glass, insects near the window and warmth emanating from inside. This particular bird might also have been flying south and got caught in poor weather involving south winds.

This information came from Brian, the naturalist at the AMC’s Highland Center in Crawford Notch. It came to me via Tamar, the naturalist down in Pinkham Notch.

That night I didn’t observer either of the two birds eating anything. The wind and the weather were too rough for insects. And probably too rough for flying birds. Rather than fight the wind, sometimes it’s worth stopping for a rest. At the end of the day on Sept 3rd, winds were in fact from the south at 23-30 mph. During the evening they’d been SE at 35-45mph. The morning of the 4th, winds shifted west and dropped into the teens, but by that point our birds were hunkered down. There was no precipitation, but fog wet enough to soak anything outdoors. I believe it is safe to say these birds were waiting out the weather.

As to the warmth and light from the building – that is true. As to looking in the mirror – I’m pretty confident that these birds understood the concept of glass because Nin didn’t scare ’em a bit. Again thanks to the naturalists for the information and deductive reasoning and thanks to Bob Steele for more photos.


Jon Cotton,  Observer

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